Former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, has demanded that the DA take down an election advertisement featuring Madiba’s voice.
Mandela junior said in a statement that the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) should act against the DA as the advert was a “gross violation of the electoral code”.
“We are disgusted by the flagrant abuse of former President Nelson Mandela by the Democratic Alliance, which is using his voice in an election advertisement broadcast on YouTube,” he said.
“The desperate lengths to which the DA will stoop to dupe voters is condemned in the strongest terms. uNkosi Dalibhunga was throughout his life, until his death – by profession, and in the hereafter – a loyal and committed member of the ANC.”
Mandela said that if the DA wanted to invoke history, it should use the voices of its own former and current leaders – Tony Leon, Helen Zille, and Mmusi Maimane. Under their leadership, it had formed “the laager of white privilege since 1994”.
“Madiba’s name can never be associated with a betrayal of our struggle. The use of his voice in an attempt to lend credibility to a party that has made the preservation of white privilege its raison d’être is vile and untruthful.
“It is a violation of the letter and spirit of South Africa’s electoral code for one party to abuse and defile the image of another. In this case, the association of Nkosi Dalibhunga’s name with the DA is an insult and affront to his history, his party of choice, his legacy and the values for which he stood.”
The DA was trying to “hijack his voice” to dupe those who held his name in high esteem.
However, DA spokesperson Refiloe Ntsekhe said Nelson Mandela belonged to everyone.
“When Tata Mandela became a president, he belonged to all of us, not just the ANC. As a president you allow yourself to become a public figure and we have every right to use him,” she said.
“He preached non-racialism and tolerance. This is equally important to the DA and we have to be reminded of what he preached.”
Ntsekhe said Mandla Mandela needed to be reminded of the oath he took in Parliament.
“He knows as an MP that when you take that oath you belong to all of us,” she said.
The DA advertisement, which went live over the weekend, features a woman in a voting booth making her mark next to the party’s logo after hearing Mandela’s voice.
It is not the first time Mandela has featured in an elections campaign. In 2014, shortly after his death in December 2013, several parties accused each other of using his name to score political points.